Sep. 18, 2019

Hard To Fathom Kenneth Ravenell Indicted By The Feds

What in the hell is going on in Baltimore City, noted black legal eagle, Kenneth Ravenell was just indicted by a federal grand jury for major counts of drug conspiracy, money laundering, and federal racketeering.

“Ravenell instructed members of the conspiracy to utilize certain drug couriers, to utilize specific modes of transportation, and to transport shipments of drugs and money at particular times of day, all for the purpose of evading law enforcement,”

The charges against Kenneth Ravenell reach as far back as 2009. Mr. Ravenell was the attorney for the son of Korryn Gaines, Ms. Gaines was murdered by a Baltimore County officer in her apartment while she was holding her son. Mr. Ravenell won a multi-million dollar settlement that was recently thrown out of court. Mr. Ravenell is a high profile attorney in Baltimore City. He doesn't or didn't shy away from the most difficult of cases in his career. He was a former law partner in the firm of Judge William "Billy" Murphy before he branched off on his own. In an article published in 2012, this quote appeared from noted law professor Larry Gibson.

“His numerical track record is phenomenal, he’s tried a couple of hundred serious criminal cases, jury trials, and the majority of his cases have led to acquittals, many of them in federal court.”

Kenneth Ravenell’s acquittal rate in federal court actually lies somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 percent, dwarfing the average in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which, in 2010, was 8 percent, according to Judge "Billy" Murphy. How does he do it? “No one works harder on behalf of his clients than he does,” says Gregg Bernstein, the state’s attorney for Baltimore city. “He outworks his opponents in every case that he has.”

In that same article, it discusses the early days in the life of Kenneth Ravenell. Mr. Ravenell was the seventh of 11 children born to Francis and Daisy Ravenell in a tiny town of Cross, S.C., 50 miles east of Charleston. They kept a portion of the cash crops, such as cotton and cucumbers, grown in their fields and a portion was sharecropped for others. Each weekday, Ken would come home from school in the early afternoon and go out to work the fields until it was dark. Weekends he would begin picking with the sun.

Family needs may have required the children to work, but that didn’t mean they could skip out on school. “My parents really believed in education,” Ravenell says. “My mother made us believe that she knew everything. We could always turn to her [with questions] and as we grew she would send us to an older sibling. We had a saying in our family: Each one teach one. You know, it takes a village to raise a family.”

Ravenell’s older siblings attended all-black schools, but South Carolina finally dropped “separate but equal” by 1959 when Ravenell was in fifth grade. “Thurgood Marshall was at the forefront and I was amazed at what he had done,” Ravenell remembers. “I thought, ‘I want to do what that man is doing. I want to be a lawyer.’ That was it. That was the spark. I was in fifth grade and I had never even met a lawyer, but I knew I would become one.”

He was his high school valedictorian, then went on to South Carolina State University, where he majored in political science, working hard and acing his classes. All along, he focused on becoming a lawyer—no matter the hardship. “I took the LSAT and it was homecoming day,” he says. “Everybody was out with the floats and celebrating. I remember the band playing and I’m sitting there trying to take the LSAT.” He sighs and shakes his head. “Can you believe it? Saturday morning. They scheduled it on homecoming!”

After earning his J.D. at the University of Maryland School of Law in 1984, he began his career working for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. “My first three years I was in the prosecutor’s office,” he says. “That was important. I always knew I was going to go out into private practice and be a criminal defense trial lawyer … but I wanted to see how the other side worked.”

With that type of foundation and background, you have to wonder what exactly is going on with these indictments? Are they truly crimes committed by Mr. Ravenell or is this some type of prosecutorial aggressive tactics to demean the character of this prominent defense attorney. In this country, you simply cannot accept any indictment against a lawyer with Kenneth Ravenell's track record of getting not guilty verdicts in federal courtrooms without some sense of questioning. Let's see how this plays out because at 60 years of age I find it hard to believe that Kenneth Ravenell went completely off the tracks to this extend. However, indictments from a federal grand jury are indeed worrisome. I hope that we don't have the feds going to the videotapes?